Seminary Life

The seminary is where a man discerns whether God is calling him to the priesthood and prepares him for a life of love and sacrifice as a priest. Each seminarian is assigned to a seminary to take classes and grow in the four areas of formation: intellectual, spiritual, human, and pastoral. While classes take place on a college campus, it differs from the "traditional" college experience in that the seminarians are in a prayerful environment: morning prayer, daily Mass, and evening prayer. Seminarians also meet with spiritual directors regularly.

Learn more about becoming a seminarian, the steps from seminary to priesthood, and answers to common questions about seminary.

 Meet Our Seminarians

How to Become a Seminarian

  1. The process usually starts with conversations with the vocations director, Father Ross Parker. Some feel the pull to enter the seminary right away, while others spend more time discerning. When you decide to enter the seminary, the formal process begins. 
  2. You will then have a series of meetings with the vocations director and will visit one or two seminaries to meet people and experience the environment firsthand.
  3. You will undergo several in-depth interviews and be required to write your autobiography and an essay on what the priesthood means to you. Additionally, you will need to obtain recommendation letters from priests, pastors, friends, co-workers, teachers, and guidance counselors. 
  4. You will complete a series of psychological tests (these tests are paid for by the diocese).
  5. You will complete application forms and provide the vocations office with high school and college transcripts, as well as baptismal and confirmation certificates, college board test scores (ACT or SAT), and a medical/physical form. The diocese conducts a background check, and the seminary admissions committee reviews your application before sending a recommendation to Bishop Joensen.
  6. Upon completing the application process and having the approval of the seminary admissions committee, you'll have a meeting with the bishop. Congratulations!

Seminary to Priesthood

The seminarian program is based on "Pastores Dabo Vobis," (I will Give You Shepherds) written by St. John Paul II. It focuses on four main pillars of formation, corresponding to four areas of the seminarian's life: intellectual formation, spiritual formation, human formation, and pastoral formation.

Intellectual Formation

All seminarians earn an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and a master's degree in Theology. The initial task of intellectual formation is to develop a personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, who embodies the fullness and completion of God's revelation.

Spiritual Formation

Spiritual formation revolves around falling in love with Jesus. It's insufficient for a Catholic priest to merely possess knowledge about Jesus and his Church; he must intimately know Jesus and be fully convinced of the Lord's unconditional love for him and every person.

Human Formation

The human personality of the priest should serve as a bridge rather than an obstacle for others in their encounter with Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of humanity. Human formation involves cultivating virtues such as prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. It also entails developing qualities like humility, constancy, sincerity, patience, good manners and hygiene, and truthfulness.

Pastoral Formation

A priest should embody the role of a genuine shepherd of souls, following the example of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is teacher, priest, and shepherd. The essence of priesthood is guiding people towards heaven. All priestly formation ultimately aims at honing pastoral skills: effectively shepherding people and aiding them in their journey toward holiness.